University of Maryland proves popular choice for Wolverines seniors, staff

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University of Maryland proves popular choice for Wolverines seniors, staff

Science teacher and UMD alum Matthew Johnson center with friends at a MD Vs. Duke basketball game during their freshman year.

Science teacher and UMD alum Matthew Johnson center with friends at a MD Vs. Duke basketball game during their freshman year.

Science teacher and UMD alum Matthew Johnson center with friends at a MD Vs. Duke basketball game during their freshman year.

Science teacher and UMD alum Matthew Johnson center with friends at a MD Vs. Duke basketball game during their freshman year.

Brennan Guilds, Features Editor

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Among one of the most popular colleges and universities that Watkins Mill High School seniors to apply to is the University of Maryland at College Park, with 20 percent of seniors sending in an application.

This isn’t surprising either! Between in-state tuition costs, close proximity (only 18 miles from home), high ranking (60th overall nationally) and many other reasons, UMD is an eligible top choice for anyone.

UMD is a large school with a total enrollment of 38,000 students and a 1,250-acre campus or almost two square miles. “I love the campus, It’s big and it probably takes you 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other end,” science teacher and UMD alumni Matthew Johnson said.

“It is spread out so you have to be prepared to walk,” guidance resource counselor and alumni Adam Saltzman said. However, if you are worried about having to constantly walk around, Saltzman also says “It’s a bike-friendly environment. Because the campus is so large, there are a lot of places to put your bike.” In addition to this, UMD very recently launched an on-campus bike share program for students’ convenience.

One of the highlights of UMD’s campus is its main mall, McKeldin Mall: a nine-acre stretch of green across the street from the Stamp Student Union and just outside McKeldin Library and the largest of its kind in the nation. The Mall is a large landmark on campus as well as the large bronze Testudo statue at its head, where students often leave offerings before exams and other important tests.

“The bronze Testudo structures are everywhere. There is one in front of the mall, the alumni center, Comcast stadium, Byrd stadium. They are everywhere really,” Johnson said. “Everyone knows that is where you go by and rub Testudo’s nose for good luck at exam time. Students put snacks and things on his back.”

One of the largest sources of enjoyment in college is the activities on campus and the people you surround yourself with, also known as Student Life.

“Student life is really what you make it… It can be as boring as you want it to be,” Johnson said. With 829 student organizations established around campus, there is something for anyone and everyone.

“As long as you get out there [you will find people who like the same things you do]. If you stay in your room doing nothing, you aren’t going to meet anyone,” history teacher and UMD alumni Maxwell Bero said.

One of the biggest ways to meet people is to participate in sports, be it intramural, club or varsity. 

“There are tons of intramural sports,” Bero added. “I did football, basketball, and volleyball. But there are others: soccer, badminton, tennis.  There [are] club sports on top of that… you still travel to other schools.”

Sports are definitely not the only place where you can meet new people, though, there are interest groups and performance groups as well. “There is so much to do there, there is literally something for everyone,” Johnson said. “I was in a sketch comedy group for all four years.”

However, even with a beautiful campus and a great group of friends you still will need a place if you’re looking to stay on campus. But luckily, with 54 housing halls divided between north and south campus, you’re bound to find somewhere to stay.  “Sharing a room with someone took a little getting used to,” Saltzman said about the housing situation.

The different types of housing are more or less divided between north and south campus. “The high-rises and eight-floor building are on north campus, the stereotypical quads are on the south campus side,” Johnson said. “On the south campus, you have more focused group housing… There are also suites on [the] south [campus], so it is very different.”

In addition to housing types being separated by location, you get better housing as you gain seniority. The older you are and the longer you’ve been in school, the more priority you get when you get to choose where you live,” Bero said.

“Freshman will stay in the high rises, where the whole floor shares two bathrooms,” Bero added. “[Those] are two–sometimes three–to a room [and are] very small with no more that 80 to 100 square feet.”

Once you become an upperclassman, your housing options will open up and you will have access to newer buildings, suites, apartments and much more. “The suites which are basically apartments with no kitchens,” Bero explained.

Although it is nice to imagine college as just a big party, it is still a school. “Classes are run a bit differently when you are in college. You might have a class on Tuesday and Thursday or Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” Saltzman added.

“I don’t think the work gets that much [more difficult], but it actually gets more interesting because you are taking classes that you really enjoy,” Saltzman said. “I was smart about [studying]… I would do my assignment that day while it was still fresh in my mind, and I could usually have all my work done by 6 pm and the night [would be] mine.”

“Once everything was done, I was able to enjoy myself… It gets a little bit easier but again you have to be disciplined and make sure you have everything done first before you start to take part in all the other social aspects of college,” Saltzman added.

All in all, the University of Maryland is an amazing choice of college with the benefit of in-state tuition, and you will certainly not leave disappointed if you choose to attend.

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